2009 — 27 October: Tuesday

Midnight, again, though dunno how that happens. I watched another two episodes of Season #2 of "Carnivàle", bringing me to the halfway point. Excellent. I've left the satellite PVR watching and recording "Wicker Park" for me but will turn in very soon now. Tonight's picture of Christa is from 1980, back in Old Windsor, just a few months after Peter was born:

Christa in Old Windsor, 1980

This was before I had any inkling that I would be in IBM within a year. At the time, I was doing a load of freelance writing for the bit of ICL I'd previously worked in, to make sure we could afford the new car that was now necessary given the increasing unreliability of Christa's original Skoda from 1973. I can tell Christa liked that new car (a Honda Civic) very much as she kept the brochure on it filed1 away for many years. Indeed, I know I'm a bit of a squirrel, but Christa took the art of squirreling to a higher plane altogether.

One of the reasons I can't really envisage moving from this house, frankly, is simply "If I moved, where would I put everything?"



It's not just me, then... Paul Broks (the neuropsychologist who so memorably advised us that "Disgust started out as the guardian of the mouth" — source) has also been chatting to Nick Hornby:

"So, if Jeffrey Archer's2 a can of Coke," I say, "What does that make Ian McEwan? Something on the wine list presumably."
"Yes. But if you're thirsty you don't want a bottle of Château Lafite."

Nick Hornby in Prospect

Stick with the interview to get to the bit about tear ducts.

Well past time for my next cuppa. It's already 10:20 and very mild. Breakfast, methinks. Then some supplies shopping with my trusty John Lewis credit card (which does very well in the survey of such things). There was an entertaining episode of "Boston Legal" that dissected the nefarious practices of most parts of the credit card "industry" on t'other side of the Pond. Someone in the UK guvmint finally seems to have caught up with the fact that our lot are no better. (Source.)

Mercy me. Karmic Koala is on Microsoft's warning radar. Two days to go...

Feeding my habit

It's just possible (I suspect) to deduce from a handful of mentions hereabouts3 that I'm a keen fan of "Doonesbury". And have been since buying my first collection in November 1980. I have now got 46 of the things dotted around my shelves. Here's today's latest delicious dollop (on the left, of course):


Indeed much of the mis- and dis-information my brain holds about American politics and culture has been mis-shaped by a close reading of Trudeau's magnificently-sustained satire. (Assuming it is satire, of course!)


Despite having forgotten the tomatoes. Lunched, too. Taking a minor league risk on a new US TV series ("Breaking Bad") by ordering the DVDs unseen, and shuddering at the news that John Cleese is 70. Sandi Toksvig, meanwhile, reminds us that (back in 1981, in the days of precisely three national TV channels) BBC2 was "for those viewers who also had a library card". I remember it well. Cheeky minx!

Further back

After lunch I decided to keep alive the Mounce family tradition of a quick dip into Southampton to see if anything new and tasty had appeared in the bookshop. So I've now added the magazine alongside my new "Doonesbury" (above) and the following pair (below). I'd been considering the Aldridge illustrated autobiography even at full price (and, had I still been a rich IBMer, I wouldn't have hesitated) but since Borders were nice enough to reduce it to half-price...


I'm listening to our top judge (aka "The Right Honorable The Lord Judge, PC, QC" if you please). Terribly plummy voice but he seems to be making sense.

The three McDonald's fast food places in Iceland are closing. They can no longer afford to import (from Germany) the necessary ingredients. Crikey.

Before Vista

For reasons that need not detain us, three years ago I spent some time playing with "Stardock" to make my XP system look like a Vista system. (To be more precise, to emulate the "Aero" interface.) It basically tended to end in tears for one reason or another. Of course, when I actually got a real Vista system it didn't take long for me to overwrite it by Ubuntu. Now I see (here) that you can make your Ubuntu system look like OS X. Madness, I tell you. That way lies madness. Time (17:58) for a bite to eat. My goodness, it's horribly dark out there.



1  There's absolutely no hurry, of course, but I have quite a task ahead of me as I sort through her various boxes and files of "stuff". She seems to have kept every letter she ever received from her parents, for example, from long before we first met in 1974. Not to mention every utility bill, every tax statement, every insurance document, every diary...
2  I have actually read precisely one book by that nice Mr Archer jail-bird peer chappie. ("Not a penny more..." if it matters. I was very young!)
3  21, though tracking them all down is left as an exercise for the reader :-)